What We Do

The Graduate Employees Union is run by and for graduate students, and each member’s opinion is sought and valued. We function in the following ways:

Membership

TA Membership – As a member of the GEU, you will be able to vote in all GEU matters, hold an elected office within the union, and qualify for member-only benefits like access to the Solidarity Grant fund and the tuition waiver pool. By joining the union and standing together with your fellow graduate students, you ensure we can live and work in a better community.

Non-TA Membership –- Because of Michigan state law, the GEU is currently authorized to negotiate a contract only for Teaching Assistants, but the benefits negotiated by the union extend to Research Assistants and other graduate students at Michigan State University. Graduate students who are not currently teaching assistants can join the union for $40.00 a year as an Associate Member and are entitled to all the same rights and benefits as other union members, with the exception of voting on contracts. In the future, we hope to see these laws restricting the full unionization of Research Assistants, Fellows, and other non-teaching assistant graduate students repealed.

Dues & Fees – If you decide to join GEU, you will pay dues, which can be automatically deducted from your paycheck. The dues rate is currently set at 1.6% of salary. Dues help maintain our membership in our parent union, AFT-Michigan, fund the salaries of our two staff organizers, buy materials for actions and events, and maintain the Solidarity Grant fund. 

Meetings, Organizing, and Actions

Active Members Meetings – These are all member meetings held throughout the semester. At membership meetings, the entire membership is invited to speak about important issues, hear about the details of union work, and participate in planning union events. Whatever your interests and time commitments, Active Members Meetings have room for you to be involved. Votes on the budget and other important decisions happen at General Membership Meetings, a more formal Active Members Meeting held at least once a semester. We’ll be releasing our Fall 2021 Active Members Meeting schedule soon, so check back or watch our social media for upcoming meeting dates!

Actions – GEU members are passionate about enforcing our contractual rights and about fighting injustice on campus and in the East Lansing area. These actions may take the form of demonstrations, rallies, informational pickets, and other events as deemed necessary. GEU members meet to determine the time and nature of such events.

Core Team and Elected Officers – Per our constitution, the Graduate Employees Union elects five Officers in the spring of each year: President, Vice President for Organizing & Outreach, Vice President for Contract Negotiations and Grievances, Treasurer, and Information Officer. The members elected to these positions and other active members form our Core Team, a group of members who meet weekly to plan and support actions, training, and campaigns in conjunction with the goals set at active membership meetings. The Core Team is open to any member who wants to be involved in the planning and daily operations of our Union. To join a meeting, email information@geuatmsu.org for the details!

Stewards Council – The Stewards Council consists of GEU members from all departments of the university. Stewards are elected by members in their department and meet once a month. Members in each employing department may elect one steward for every fifteen members in the department. Stewards are the links from the academic departments to the union: they provide communication to their fellow graduate students from the union and relay information to their departments from the union. To find your department’s steward, click here.

In addition to these regular meetings, the Core Team, and Stewards Council, the GEU has several teams that perform specific tasks.

  • The Member Defense Committee is the body that makes sure that our contract is enforced properly. This committee defends our contractual rights and negotiates solutions when problems arise. To join this team, contact defense@geuatmsu.org!
  • The International Graduate Student Committee represents the concerns of international graduate students within the union and works in coalition with other organizations on campus to ensure international students receive adequate support and to fight discrimination and bias on campus. To join this team, contact international@geuatmsu.org
  • The Budget Committee oversees the operations and infrastructure internal to the union, and ensures the union runs smoothly, supporting organizers and members in their work as students and as union members. To join this team, email budget@geuatmsu.org!
  • The Publicity Committee is responsible for creating messaging and managing media contacts. They draft press releases and emails, advise promotional campaigns, and develop website content management strategy. They also help mentor members who want to propose and run a GEU event, training, or skill-share activity. To join this team, email information@geuatmsu.org

This might seem like a lot of information to navigate, especially if you are new to the union, but we are excited that you are here! If you would like to meet with a union member to learn more, email us at geu@geuatmsu.org

Remember: you are the union. With everyone’s help, we can continue to fight for our futures together.


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